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Elvis Yorkshire Terrier
1557 Highway NN
Ironton, MO 63650 USA

Phone: 573-734-6330

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Why Small Dogs are Small And How This Relates To Teacup Yorkies

Scientists have discovered why small dogs are small. They have found a DNA sequence located on chromosome 15, which is next to the gene known as IGF1. This sequence was found in all dog breeds they tested that were 20 lbs. and under. The Yorkshire Terrier breed falls into this category. Dogs over 20 lbs. have the IGF1 gene but don’t have the DNA sequence located on chromosome 15.

The IGF1 gene produces a growth-inducing protein hormone. What they have found is that this DNA sequence that is located next to the IGF1 gene causes the IGF1 gene to produce less of the growth protein hormone. They also found in a study on Poodles, that the less of the growth hormone in their bloodstream the smaller the body size. They haven’t found the exact mutation in this DNA sequence which causes the reduced output of this growth hormone but they feel they are on the path to discover it.

Now you may be wondering what does this have to do with Yorkies? It actually gives a scientific explanation on why the really small Yorkies also known as teacup, micro, or miniature occur. Most of what you read on the internet implies that the smaller than average Yorkies are all small because they are just the runts of the litter and have underlying health issues. There is some truth to that statement in that if a Yorkie puppy has underlying health issues it probably will be smaller than usual. But a smaller than usual puppy does not mean the puppy has health issues.

The fact is a Teacup Yorkie can be smaller than usual because it has less of the growth hormone in its bloodstream or because it has underlying health issues. What we’ve seen as well as other breeders of the extra small Yorkshire Terriers is that somewhere around 8-12 weeks of age the puppy’s growth rate begins to dramatically slow down. This could be an indication of reduced levels of the growth hormone in the bloodstream. Hopefully, someday there will be standard testing to determine the levels of this hormone in the bloodstream.

Until there is testing available we recommend that people who want the smaller than average dogs, that they buy from a breeder that specializes in the miniature or teacup yorkies. We say that because we feel that it increases your odds of getting a healthy puppy that is small because of genetics. Please don’t take us wrong. We not saying that a breeder that breeds for the standard size yorkies can’t have puppies that are small due to genetics. We’re saying there may be a greater risk that the puppy is small due to health issues.


University of Utah Public Relations,

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